Tuesday, 28 February 2017

“The Minister is converted!”

This is why it is said: 
“Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you”     (Ephesians 5:14)

Here was a little slogan that was circulating around Christian circles in that first century AD; possibly it was even a song - with revolution built into it!

This little rhyme can act like an alarm ‘wake-up call’ to people asleep - even dead - to their soul’s state and eternal destiny.  If they can only wake and rise from their deathly stupor, Christ will shine on them for ever!

This happened, remarkably, to a Cornish vicar back in the 19th century – who was converted through his own sermon!  William Haslam was his name.  During his sermon the thought came to him, You are no better than the Pharisees themselves.

He recalled later, “I felt a wonderful LIGHT” – and someone in the congregation noticed the change in William Haslam’s face, and cried out “The minister is converted!”  Shouts of praise broke out in the church – shouts in which the vicar himself joined.  Eventually he called for a hymn of praise to be sung.  By the end of the service the news had got out, and people were crowding into the church at the sensation.  Still greater crowds turned up as the news spread.  As William Haslam himself told them all that same night, “He has awakened me, who was before DEAD in trespasses and sins” – he was quoting from Ephesians.

Many, on reading this, would confirm that this very thing has happened to themselves.  A man from the north of England once wrote to me, “It was as if a light suddenly turned on, and everything became very clear. I was, quite frankly, speechless.”

A sixty-three year-old described it in another letter, “It has happened like a thunderclap!”

A Brahmin from India, after a service in London, wrote, “I felt great weights being lifted off me.”

It happens when we begin to wake up to what life is like without God; waking up at last to Jesus Christ and His forgiving power at the Cross; to the Bible, to Prayer, to the wonder of meeting others at a Bible-based  church!

Try singing for yourself Charles Wesley’s great hymn – “And can it be that I should gain?” You can google the words on the Internet.  One of the lines runs, ‘I WOKE; the dungeon flamed with light!’